US NRC conducts special inspection at Exelon Nuclear's Oyster Creek
Washington (Platts)--13Nov2012/1206 pm EST/1706 GMT
The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission is conducting a special inspection
at Exelon Nuclear's Oyster Creek plant in Lacey Township, New Jersey, to
follow up on an alert declared at the plant during Hurricane Sandy's landfall
in late October, NRC said Tuesday.
The alert, the second-lowest of four levels of emergency used by NRC for
nuclear power plants, was declared the evening of October 29 when water rose
to six feet above mean sea level at Oyster Creek's intake structure "due to a
combination of a rising tide, wind direction and storm surge," the agency
Offsite power was lost at the site that evening and was restored October
30. The alert was terminated early on the morning of October 31.
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The reactor was shut before the storm for a refueling and maintenance
outage that began October 22, and it remained out of service early Tuesday
morning, according to NRC.
Because the reactor was already shut, NRC Region I Administrator Bill
Dean said in the statement, "there were no immediate safety concerns.
Nevertheless, there are certain observations involving procedures and on-site
activities that surfaced during the event warranting a closer look."
"This special inspection will focus on those areas to gain a better
understanding of how the water level information was monitored and
communicated during the event," he added.
NRC said Tuesday that "[t]here were no actual impacts on the plant's,
NRC's or state's emergency response posture" due to the rising water levels.
Exelon Nuclear spokeswoman Suzanne D'Ambrosio said in an email Tuesday
that "Oyster Creek's robust defenses, together with our preparations and
performance during Hurricane Sandy, helped ensure the safety of the plant,
our workers and the public."
Exelon Nuclear is "currently performing a comprehensive, mandatory
review of our actions during the storm and we welcome an independent review
from the NRC as well. These reviews are common after major events and we are
committed to implementing any procedural or performance improvements
identified that might make our facility even safer," D'Ambrosio said.
--Steven Dolley, firstname.lastname@example.org
--Edited by Keiron Greenhalgh, email@example.com